SANAA - Gunmen shot dead three people in a failed attempt to assassinate a Houthi rebel leader on Saturday after he left Yemen's "national dialogue" talks aimed at ending political turmoil in the country, sources at the talks said.
Abdo Abu Ras, the Houthis' representative at the negotiations, was returning by car to his hotel in the capital Sanaa when gunmen opened fire, killing three of his companions, the sources said.
Impoverished Yemen faces two rebellions and a separatist movement. Washington fears it may become a failed state after President Ali Abdullah Saleh was unseated last year following "Arab spring" protests.
The Houthi rebels, who advocate a bigger role for Zaydi Shi'ite Muslims in the north of Yemen, have been fighting the government since 2004 and form one of several rival groups taking part in the talks.
"The aim (of the assassination attempt) was to push us to withdraw from the dialogue, but we will not do so," said Abdulkarim Jadban, a leader of the group.